WEEKLY ECONOMIC UPDATE
February 20, 2012
The Hitchcock Maddox Financial Planning
CONSUMER PRICES UP 0.2% FOR JANUARY
Major factors in this increase in the Consumer Price Index include a 0.9% rise in the price of clothing as well as rising rents and healthcare costs. Core CPI also rose 0.2% in January. The annualized inflation rate hit 2.3% last month, yet the Federal Reserve expects but a 1.6% gain in the CPI across 2012. Wholesale inflation ticked up 0.1% for January, with the core Producer Price Index up 0.4%.1
RETAIL SALES FALL SHORT OF (HIGH) EXPECTATIONS
The Census Bureau reported a healthy 0.4% rise in U.S. retail purchases for January. However, economists polled by Dow Jones Newswires thought they would rise 0.9% for the month. Subtract a 1.1% decline in auto sales from the data, and retail sales were up 0.7% for January.2
LEADING INDICATORS HIT 3Â½-YEAR PEAK
The Conference Boardâ€™s Leading Indicator Index rose 0.4% in January, with seven of ten indicators improving. (The most notable positive detected: a widening in the spread between short-term and long-term interest rates.) The index advanced for a fourth consecutive month.3
NASDAQ 3,000? DOW 13,000?
Both indices approached those psychological landmarks on Friday. The Dow went +1.16% for the week, the NASDAQ +1.65% and the S&P 500 +1.38%. At weekâ€™s end, the Dow was at 12,949.87, the NASDAQ at 2,951.78 and the S&P at 1,361.23. Oil futures soared 4.63% last week on the NYMEX to settle at $103.24 a barrel Friday. Gold had a flat week, settling at $1,724.50 Friday on the COMEX following a 0.07% five-day advance.4,5,6
THIS WEEK: U.S. financial markets are closed Monday for the Presidents Day holiday; big news could come out of Europe Monday, as Eurozone finance ministers could greenlight a new bailout package for Greece. Tuesday, earnings reports roll in from Barnes & Noble, Macyâ€™s, Dell, Saks, Wal-Mart, Kraft Foods, Home Depot and Radio Shack. Wednesday, the NAR puts out data on January existing home sales and quarterly results come in from Toll Bros., MGM, TJX, Dollar Tree, Fluor, Conseco, Hertz and Hewlett-Packard. Thursday brings earnings from Target, Kohlâ€™s, Hormel, OfficeMax, Safeway, Sears, Public Storage, Gap and AIG. Friday, the final University Of Michigan consumer sentiment survey for February appears, the Census Bureau publishes January new home sales figures and J.C. Penney, Scripps and Berkshire Hathaway issue Q4 results.
Sources:cnbc.com, bigcharts.com, treasury.gov, treasurydirect.gov – 2/17/124,7,8,9
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1 – www.sltrib.com/sltrib/money/53537035-79/prices-inflation-percent-costs.html.csp [2/17/12]
2 – blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2012/02/14/retail-sales-miss-expectations-no-need-to-freak-out/ [2/14/12]
3 – www.usatoday.com/money/economy/story/2012-02-17/january-leading-economic-indicators/53130756/1 [2/17/12]
4 – www.cnbc.com/id/46427808 [2/17/12]
5 – montoyaregistry.com/Financial-Market.aspx?financial-market=common-financial-mistakes-and-how-to-avoid-them&category=29 [2/17/12]
6 – blogs.wsj.com/marketbeat/2012/02/17/data-points-energy-metals-547/ [2/17/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=2%2F17%2F11&x=0&y=0 [2/17/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=2%2F17%2F11&x=0&y=0 [2/17/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=2%2F17%2F11&x=0&y=0 [2/17/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=2%2F16%2F07&x=0&y=0 [2/17/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=2%2F16%2F07&x=0&y=0 [2/17/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=2%2F16%2F07&x=0&y=0 [2/17/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=DJIA&closeDate=2%2F19%2F02&x=0&y=0 [2/17/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=COMP&closeDate=2%2F19%2F02&x=0&y=0 [2/17/12]
7 – bigcharts.marketwatch.com/historical/default.asp?symb=SPX&closeDate=2%2F19%2F02&x=0&y=0 [2/17/12]
8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyield [2/17/12]
8 – treasury.gov/resource-center/data-chart-center/interest-rates/Pages/TextView.aspx?data=realyieldAll [2/17/12]
9 – treasurydirect.gov/instit/annceresult/press/preanre/2002/ofm10902.pdf [1/9/02]